Some of you may know I do genealogy research for a hobby. This is a wonderful tool for writing historical novels…giving you an idea of names that were popular during different times in history as well as locations of well populated areas, types of jobs most available in a particular era and family sizes. Often while doing genealogy research I will incorporate the Internet to find out more about the places and events that were pertinent in those times to use in my writing.
I have found wonderful “period” names for my works in progress as well as family surnames and often connections between cities. Civil War events, family secrets and patterns in dating in communities around the country are brought to the surface…even going so far as to show interesting things happening around the world. Interesting facts about boot camps and live-in schools are uncovered that could be useful in future novels.
While I am currently writing Regency historicals, I am also planning ahead. The information garnered from my hobby is helping build new characters…couples who are living during the Civil War or in the Old West, or fighting in one of the World Wars….develop in my mind. New information surfaces every time I do research that makes writing books about the days gone by incredibly fulfilling.
Some information is available on Ancestry.com or Genealogy.com. Not all is free, most sites require paid membership to dig very deeply into your past…but take a few minutes to access one of these sites’ free pages and look at a census page or two. Take in the penmanship, the size of families and the ages of their children…even the jobs the heads of household held. Imagine their homes and the lives within them, and wonder how their futures unfolded. Now imagine was their lives must have been like…….
A fine imagination can easily find romance within those walls,